How Military Robots Work

ARTS, equipped with a Harley Box Rake, begins explosive-ordnance disposal activities.

Photo courtesy AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate

Big Bots: ARTS, RAAS and ARV


The All-Purpose Remote Transport System (ARTS) was developed by the U.S. Air Force for one purpose -- the help dispose of dangerous explosives. ARTS is basically a bulldozer, but instead of a bulldozer's blade, it has mine-clearing devices, a mechanical arm and a water cutting tool attached. ARTS can be remotely operated from a distance of up to 3 miles (5 km) with line of sight. It can also set charges to detonate explosives from a distance. ARTS weighs 7,500 lbs (3,400 kg).


The Robotic Armored Assault System (RAAS) and the Armed Robotic Vehicle (ARV) are both in development by the U.S. military. These are large-scale robots (ARV will weigh 5 to 6 tons) capable of carrying up to 1 ton of payload.

Potential weapons to be mounted on these tank-size robots include the 30mm Mk 44 chain gun or a turret system capable of firing Hellfire missiles. They have been designed so that they can be carried and deployed by the military's primary cargo-carrying aircraft, the C-130 and the CH-47.

How Military Robots Work

U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft

Photo courtesy Department of Defense

In the next section, we'll meet some robots that can take to the air.